Ray Lewis' Road to Redemption
Updated: Friday, August 2 2013, 09:11 PM EDT
Ray Lewis is known for being outspoken about his faith. In fact, he is called “Reverend Ray” by some here in Baltimore, and his pastor says he has the power to change lives. Carol Costello showed the world Lewis’ road to redemption.
The Empowerment Temple AME church is cover in purple - from the stage, to the choir, to the parishioners.
In Past Jamal Bryant’s church God is on the Ravens side - and why not?
Bryant is Ray Lewis’ pastor - the man who helped Lewis to redemption and to God.
When asked if he deserves the title Reverend, Bryant said, “He does. He’s a jack leg preacher without a license. No Bible college, but it’s just in him. He can’t help it. He’s spoken here a couple of times. I’ve put him up to do our Bible study and he’s like Billy Graham and Bishop Jakes wrapped into one.”
Lewis preached at Empowerment Temple last year, after a rash of shootings in Baltimore over Labor Day weekend. He spoke eloquently, saying, “We gotta change the way our children think. We gotta change the way these gangs are dictating and running our streets. We have the ability to do that! But it’s called tough love.”
Fans call Lewis’ in-your-face-faith and extensive community service beautifully sincere. But his critics find it phony - a redemption tour with no true redemption.
Bryant recalls, “You got all this attention glorifying him, and then he was involved in what happened down in Atlanta. But, yet still people don’t seem to care. They are more interested in football.”
Thirteen years go Wilson’s nephew, Jacinth Baker, and his buddy Richard Lollar, were stabbed to death outside of an Atlanta nightclub. Lewis and two others were charged in their murders. Four months later, Lewis pleaded guilty to a much lesser charge: Obstruction of Justice. A jury decided the other two men killed Baker and Lollar in self-defense.
Even today Lewis insists whatever happened in Atlanta changed him saying, “With everything that I’ve been through in my whole life, the thing for me to be here today and my only purpose in life is to find different ways to help people and encourage people and make our world a better place.”
When Bryant was asked if he had every spoken to Ray about what happened in Atlanta, he said he had. But when asked to share the moment he said, “I’m just glad he’s on this side of it. Anybody who talks about Ray Lewis can’t possibly quote the Book of Psalms to know that David was a man after God’s own heart, after committing adultery, after committing murder, after being negligent of the job, after being taken out of position, he’s still somebody who God honored and I think that many times history can’t appreciate it while you’re in it. It’s only after you walk away.”
That is the way Bryant defines redemption; not b what you’ve done but by what you’ve become.